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Monday, July 6, 2020

British skiers filmed parties at the epicenter of the Austrian coronavirus epidemic

Horrible footage shows British skiers unknowingly partying in a bar in the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic in Austria more than a month after the disease was first identified there.

The film, obtained from MailOnline, shows vacationers that shots are served in the Kitzloch bar, Ischgl, in late February, where a 36-year-old German bartender is believed to have fallen ill with Covid-19 that same week.

Other exclusive videos show revelers dancing in the nearby Schatzi bar in March, during the crucial few days when local politicians were said to have been told of a possible outbreak, but they silenced him.

Iceland declared Ischgl an area at risk on March 5, placing it in the same category as Wuhan and Iran after returning tourists had tested positive. But it wasn’t until March 13 that the Austrian government blocked the area.

Vacationers who filmed the exclusive footage told MailOnline that many people in the resort suffered from a dry cough, which they had lowered to altitude. There was no sense of alarm at the moment.

Scott Phiminster, 45, filmed his friends in Ischgl on the crucial few days when Austrian authorities were reportedly informed of the risk of a coronavirus outbreak but did not close the resort

Scott Phiminster, 45, filmed his friends in Ischgl on the crucial few days when Austrian authorities were reportedly informed of the risk of a coronavirus outbreak but did not close the resort

Ischgl, nicknamed “Ibiza of the Alps”, is now at the center of a criminal investigation after hundreds of infections in Germany, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Great Britain have been traced there.

Ischgl, nicknamed “Ibiza of the Alps”, is now at the center of a criminal investigation after hundreds of infections in Germany, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Great Britain have been traced there.

Icaland issued its warning on March 5 after several people returned from holidays at the resort and tested positive. But Austrian health officials blamed the blast of a passenger on the plane.

On March 7, a German bartender at the Kitzloch pub was identified with coronavirus. He reportedly got sick in late February, when British skiers were filmed while partying at the bar where he worked.

The next day, health ministers in Norway announced that 491 of their 1198 cases had recently been skied in the region.

A text message leaked on March 9 appeared to show that local politicians were aware of the epidemic, but told tourism businesses to cover it up. As the MailOnline footage shows, local pubs were busy during this time.

Vacationers who filmed the exclusive footage, and later became indisposed, told MailOnline of their anger that they may have unknowingly contracted the deadly virus and spread it to others.

“I organized a ski trip for nine of us between the ages of 32 and 52,” said Scott Phimister, 45. “A cough was about to break out and we talked about it with other ski groups.

‘We all decided it was only because of the dry air and the altitude. There were a lot of older people there on vacation and they really suffered from it.

Mr. Phiminster, bottom right, and his friends enjoy some beers unaware of the Covid-19 threat

Mr. Phiminster, bottom right, and his friends enjoy some beers unaware of the Covid-19 threat

Mr. Phiminster, fourth from left, poses with his friends in the popular ski resort

Mr. Phiminster, fourth from left, poses with his friends in the popular ski resort

The Kitzloch bar in Ischgl is the focus of the investigation after a bartender tested positive on March 7 after he is said to have fallen ill in late February

The Kitzloch bar in Ischgl is the focus of the investigation after a bartender tested positive on March 7 after he is said to have fallen ill in late February

‘Later, most of us got sick. If the authorities had acted responsibly, we could have avoided it. “

The videos of Mr Phimister, showing crowds of revelers drinking in the Schatzi bar, were made between 8 March and 11 March. He and his eight friends all had coronavirus symptoms after returning from Ischgl.

‘I had a solid fever for three days,’ said Paisley’s father of two. ‘I sweated so much that my shirt would stick to the window.

‘I am self-isolated and I feel better now, although I still have a dull pain in my chest when I breathe heavily.

‘Now my wife is not feeling well and my 13 year old daughter has a sore throat.’

Daren Bland, 50, of Maresfield, East Sussex, is said to have infected his wife Sarah (pictured) and children after returning from Ischgl in mid-January

Daren Bland, 50, of Maresfield, East Sussex, is said to have infected his wife Sarah (pictured) and children after returning from Ischgl in mid-January

Mr. Phiminster's friends pose on the bottom of a ski slope in Ischgl, unaware of the threat of the virus

Mr. Phiminster’s friends pose on the bottom of a ski slope in Ischgl, unaware of the threat of the virus

Police impose a blockade near Ischgl, believed to be the epicenter of the epidemic in Europe

Police impose a blockade near Ischgl, believed to be the epicenter of the epidemic in Europe

An investigation has been launched to determine whether an outbreak of the disease has been covered to protect trade during the local election period. Pictured: police outside Ischgl

An investigation has been launched to determine whether an outbreak of the disease has been covered to protect trade during the local election period. Pictured: police outside Ischgl

The Kitzloch bar in the Ibiza of the Alps

Bettors from all over the world flock to the Kitzloch bar in the Ibiza of the Alps.

They drink and dance on the tables in the early hours while enjoying the holidays.

Others spread their saliva by playing beer pong on the tables below or shot by one of the numerous waiters.

The revelers are all tight and, as Mr Bland says, people are “hot and sweaty … the perfect home for a virus”.

About 1,000 are now closed in the popular resort of Ischgl after the area was closed on March 14th.

City mayor Werner Kurz told German magazine Spiegel: ‘In essence, it’s a disaster for Ischgl. We are not yet talking about the economic consequences.

“We will overcome them, just as we have been able to overcome floods and avalanches in the past.”

The other members of his party had similar symptoms, he added, with some more severely affected than others.

“A boy was struggling to put on his socks, his breathing was so bad,” said Phimister. “Another friend’s mother is now in the hospital and has been tested positively for coronavirus.”

Phimister and his friends returned to Britain after the Austrian authorities finally took action and the resort closed on March 13th.

“All the security personnel and airport police in Austria wore masks and gloves when we left,” he said. ‘But when we arrived at Edinburgh airport, there was no mask to see.

‘The message obviously had not yet arrived in Britain. None of the boys have any idea how many people we infected before having symptoms and self-isolating. “

It comes when Daren Bland, 50, of Maresfield, East Sussex, appears to have infected his wife Sarah and his children after returning from Ischgl in mid-January.

He joined three friends there from January 15th to 19th. Two of them later returned home to Denmark and one to Minnesota in the United States. Everyone was sick.

Ischgl is famous for its lively après ski nightlife. Artificial snow extends the season until early May and drinking games are common in its many bars, continuing until the wee hours.

Drinking games such as “beer pong”, which requires participants to alternate spitting the same ping pong ball into a beer glass, is believed to have accelerated the spread of the virus.

German media have branded Ischgl “the breeding ground” of the coronavirus, while Norway believes that almost half of the country’s cases have been imported from there.

There have been at least 1,020 infections in the city, which has a population of around 1,500 people. By contrast, Vienna, the country’s capital, which has 2 million inhabitants, reported only 456 cases.

The popular resort of Ischgl in the province of Tyrol in Austria has been accused of hundreds of coronavirus cases in Europe

Europe has become the new epicenter of the pandemic, with over 100,000 people confirmed to have been infected across the continent. Italy accounts for over half of the cases.

Tourists from Scandinavia, Germany and other parts of Austria were identified with the disease after returning from Ischgl in early March.

However, local authorities minimized concerns. Werner Kurz, the mayor of Ischgl, told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that the closure was “a catastrophe” for the city, saying: “We have implemented all the regulations in a timely manner”.

Bland said he passed it on to his family – with his youngest daughter out of school for two weeks – before the symptoms spread in his neighborhood before the start of the semester.

The Bland family has not been tested for coronavirus, but if their results are back positive it means that the infection has hit the UK a month earlier than expected.

Officially the first case recorded in the UK was January 31st, with the first broadcasting on February 28th.

Since then, the virus has spread to all four countries, accumulating 465 deaths and 9,529 cases.

Ms. Bland, 49, asked that the family be tested to try to help the authorities understand how the insect crossed Britain.

Ischgl, nicknamed “Ibiza of the Alps”, is faced with difficult questions about how revelers ended up spreading the disease across Europe.

Austrian officials have launched an investigation to determine whether the popular the resort in the province of Tyrol intentionally chose not to report the cases because it would damage the tourism industry in the period of a key local election.

Opposition leader Dominik Oberhofer said it was necessary to ask questions about the relationship between hoteliers and politicians in charge of overseeing the coronavirus response.

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